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An Ultimate Guide to Write a Software Development Project Plan

The Step-by-step Guide to Website Project Management
Every successful project starts with writing a plan. 
If you want to get your software project completed on time and within budget, you should write a detailed plan. You should create a document that will define the execution and control stages of your project and guide your team through the development process.
Today, we will talk about what you should include in your software development project plan and how you should format this formal document. 
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Start with research

One person can’t know everything. Even though you are responsible for writing a project plan, you can’t predict how long it will take developers and designers to complete different tasks. 
So the first thing you should do is to discuss the project scope with team members and other stakeholders. Once you understand how the final version of the software product should look like and how much time and effort the development process requires, you can jump to writing a plan.
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Write an intro

In the first section of your document, you should provide information that will give your development team a big-picture understanding of the project:

  • In one or two sentences, describe the basic concept of the product. 
  • Define the key goals of the project.

Example: 

  • Build and successfully deploy an AI-powered assistant for elderly patients.
  • Outline the project needs (define business and functionality objectives).

Example:

  • Integrate virtual assistant into hearing aid
  • Provide definitions and explanations to abbreviations, acronyms, and other terms you are going to use in your document.

Example: 

  • CNN  convolutional neural network
  • FKP facial keypoint

Set milestones

You have already defined the goals of your project. Now you should explain what steps your team should take to achieve them. You should set milestones and make it clear to your team members what stages of the product development are crucial.
Here is an example of a project milestone and deliverable:
“ABC team aims to deliver AI-powered software to X client at $55,000 within six weeks. At the end of the fourth week, QA engineers are expected to complete security testing. At the end of the fifth week, the software development team is expected to integrate the Z product into a Y system.”

Assign tasks

Everyone in your team must have a clear understanding of who is responsible for what. It’s a core stone of the software project’s success. 
If you don’t assign your team members specific tasks, miscommunication may happen – there will be tasks that no one is really in charge of. You should specify the names and the roles of team members in your project plan to improve accountability and smooth the development process.

Set deadlines

Setting deadlines is one of the most challenging tasks for project managers. If you set unrealistic deadlines, your development team will have to work under pressure, and that may affect the quality of the final product. 
And, vice versa, if you set long deadlines, your team will likely procrastinate and lose enthusiasm for the project. So we highly suggest you discuss project deadlines with your team members and stakeholders before making a decision. 
In your project plan, you should define the estimated time to complete work and sprints. This information is essential for setting the right pace for software development and product testing. 
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Create a project budget

Software development is a costly process. Your company needs to pay salaries, spend money on rent, equipment, marketing, and other stuff.  
According to statistics, 40% of software development startup project fails because they run out of cash or experience a lack of funding. If you want your project to succeed, you should calculate estimated costs and specify them in your plan. In such a way, you will control project costs and avoid budget overruns.

Define your target audience

Your development team needs to know who will use your software and for what specific purpose. Therefore, your project plan needs to contain information about your target audience.
You should specify how old your prospective users are and what languages they speak. Also, you should define their level of tech-savviness. A better understanding of the target audience will help developers create the most appealing interface and improve usability.

Get writing assistance

“Writing a project plan” is more about planning rather than writing. To create a winning plan, you don’t have to be a good writer, but you need to be an expert in project management
If you want to polish your document, you can order proof help or use editing services online. Professional writers will correct your mistakes and make the document sound more formal.

Create a clear structure

Once you finalize your software development project plan, you should focus on document formatting. You should make sure that each section of the plan has a relevant subheading and that your document is easy to navigate through. 
Most of us get used to the idea that formal documents are meant to be printed. But in today’s world, development teams use mostly digital copies. So you should format your document in a way it will be readable on screens and be easily editable. 

Revisit your software development project plan

Unlike other formal documents, the software development project plan needs to be revised and updated on a semi-weekly or even weekly basis. You need to include a backlog section to your plan. As the project continues, you’ll be able to add tasks for functionality updates or additional user stories.
Also, you should discuss the final copy of your document with your team and ask for feedback. If engineers offer you to tweak your plan, make sure to consider their point of view.

Wrapping up

Write a project plan using this guide, and you will get your development team on the same page. You will streamline QA, testing, deployment, monitoring, and other process and help your team create a winning product on time and budget.

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